It can be incredibly easy for today’s children to spend less and less time outdoors, due to all the distractions of our ever-developing technology. However, with these simple ideas, any parent or carer can help to get the kids outside having as much fun as with their indoor activities!
Children can have a lot of pent-up, restless energy, and what better way to use this productively than with exercise? And, the outdoors offers many opportunities to make exercise enjoyable for kids. You could discuss their favourite sports together and sign them up for a club that practises outside, such as athletics or football. Or, why not encourage them to try something new? Racket sports like tennis and padel can be very social and competitive, while golf and archery can help children who want to really hone a skill and gain focus.
Gardens can be fantastic areas to exercise in too; many types of outdoor gym equipment are child-friendly, make exercise more novel and fun, and help young people to develop a healthy relationship with fitness throughout their lives.
Take Tech Outside
For kids who are always glued to tablets or games consoles, why not find a way to take technology into the great outdoors? Many modern phones have incredible cameras, so challenge them to use theirs to take up nature photography – you could even display some of the best shots in frames or as canvases in your home!
Some escape rooms now have outdoor adventures involving augmented reality which can provide entertainment for the whole family, and geocaching is a great way to spark children’s love of adventure through using GPS coordinates to find caches of treasure.
Involve Them with Wildlife
Interacting with nature can encourage kids to get outside more. Try making your garden wildlife-friendly by installing birdbaths and getting your children involved with discovering which different species visit you, or help them to create bug hotels and overgrown areas for small mammals. You could make going out in the great outdoors more interactive with nature scavenger hunts, but ensure you follow your kids’ interests by researching insects, plants or other creatures of their choice.
Give Them Green Fingers
Allowing kids to get stuck into the garden is another effective way of getting them outdoors. You could give them some input in plant choices, or let them help out in the vegetable patch or allotment. Planning things they want to grow, caring for them and watching them change will be rewarding and will make them want to keep going outside to check on progress!
Let Kids Be Creative
Encourage your children to exercise their creativity in the garden in ways they can’t indoors. They could get arty with chalks by making their own artwork and designs on brick walls, or decorating
paths to make up games that they can enjoy for hours. And, after they’ve had some fun, the rain will clean it up and they can create something new.
Enjoy Green Spaces
Whether you live in a rural or urban area, take the time to let your children explore local green spaces. Woodlands, ponds, lakes, parks and nature reserves are all fantastic options to bring out their wild side and keep them coming back for more. Let them climb trees, explore different natural materials, and maybe even build a tepee in the forest!
Take the Inside Outside
Set up a comfortable seating, work and play area in your garden where the kids can do a range of different activities. This will allow you to move typically indoor tasks outdoors, so they can reap the benefits of fresh air while getting on with their normal routines. They can do homework and art, eat outside and work on their hobbies – and the idea will be enforced if you also spend time there and lead by example. But, remember: always keep them safe with some shade so they’re protected from the sun.
Make Your Garden More Fun
Turning your outdoor space into somewhere exciting to play is bound to encourage children to get outside more often. Try adding some play equipment like swings or a trampoline, an obstacle course or bike circuit if you have a larger garden or a sensory area with different textures and smells through various plants and natural materials.
Set Up Shelter
Creating a covered area in the garden lets children spend more time outside in all weathers and seasons. Shade sails are a great option as they’re modern, attractive and practical. They’re particularly useful for kids who don’t like a particular aspect of being outdoors – for example if they’re sensitive to the heat, sun or rain – because they offer fantastic shelter from the elements. Check out A&S Landscape’s shade sail UK selection to find some versatile, colourful models to suit your space.
No matter the age of your children, you’re sure to find a useful way to encourage them to spend more time outdoors with these tips. From getting more active or green-fingered to exploring local natural spaces, maybe you’ll find yourself enjoying more fresh air too!